COLUMBIA — After winning a fourth straight district championship, Rock Bridge girls soccer coach Marc VanDover was only interested in looking ahead.
After the Bruins beat Jefferson City 4-2 to win the Class 3, District 9 championship Thursday night at Rock Bridge, VanDover didn't discount the string of titles, but he wasn't going to dwell on it.
“I only count the present,” VanDover said laughing.
Winning this season's district title was quite a feat for a team that has been plagued by multiple injuries. Senior forward Carmen Boessen had to leave during the first half of Thursday's game after tweaking an ailing knee while dribbling around defenders. Boessen was playing with a torn meniscus and an ACL injury. She returned to play 20 minutes of the second half..
“We’ve had so many injuries to the starting lineup that to come back and be in this game is amazing,” VanDover said.
The game started off slowly, but the Bruins did a good job of keeping the ball out of their territory, allowing the offense to outshoot the Jays.
The first score of the game came with 12 minutes left in the first half. Bruins forward Olivia Mends made the shot with an assist from midfielder Laurie Frew.
Frew was instrumental in the Bruins’ defensive game, winning 50 percent of the balls in the air, which kept the majority of the possessions with Rock Bridge. Frew acknowledged the team effort that went into the victory.
“Our team has strong chemistry, and we play for each other,” she said.
That chemistry worked, with the rest of the Bruins' scoring spread out between Kate Hulen, Morgan Bumby and Lexi Bumby, who each netted a goal.
Jefferson City didn't give the Bruins an easy game, though. Eden Hoogveld scored for the Jays late in the first half when she slipped one past Rock Bridge goalie Madison Boyken. Then Jefferson City came out strong in the second half, scoring less than a minute into play.
The Bruins had had enough, though, and they scored twice in the final 10 minutes to secure the title.
The Bruins advance to sectional competition where they will face Waynesville on Tuesday at a site to be determined.
“The first thing is to try to get us healthy and to relax,” VanDover said..
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